Sophisticated storytelling, both through words and images, beautifully describes the significance of friendship and what it...

BRIMSBY'S HATS

Brimsby, a hat maker, dearly misses his badger friend, who sailed away to become a sea captain.

Brimsby (a proper name for a hatter!) could be any number of animals, really, with his black stubby nose, nubby ears, pea-soup–colored body and bowler hat. A bear? A mole? Inset scenes, arresting compositional choices and conversation bubbles direct eyes across pages of computer-generated artwork. While flat, these illustrations carry powerful poignancy. The badger relays his seafaring dreams to Brimsby as ships, pirates, telescopes and dragons hover over their heads, encapsulated in a row of neat ovals. Twelve small, sequential studies reveal Brimsby’s mounting loneliness with painful clarity. He sits at his work table, by the window, sewing different hats on different days in different seasons, in boxy isolation—a lonely portrait that changes little, repeating again and again across a double-page spread. Readers may sniffle before turning the page to find him trudging across a sweeping snowscape, waist-high in a drift. He meets some cold birds shoveling snow out of their nests and thinks of the perfect solution: hat bird houses! Brimsby’s industry and empathy find him a flock of thankful friends.

Sophisticated storytelling, both through words and images, beautifully describes the significance of friendship and what it feels like to miss, keep, love and make a friend. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8147-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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